substrate for a 120g - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-21-2012, 12:53 AM Thread Starter
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substrate for a 120g

Hello,

I made a post in the general planted forum but I decided to come here for my substrate related questions.

I was wondering if anyone could give me some pointers/the best way to go about substrate in a large tank (120g).

Currently I only have 2" sand but am prepared to dump that all out for something better suited for plants.

I am hoping for the cheapest method possible, as I'm a poor student!!!

Thank you!!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-21-2012, 01:44 AM
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How coarse is the sand? If it is pool filter sand rather than play sand then stick root tabs under the heavily rooted plants and you are good to go.


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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-21-2012, 02:12 AM
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I am working on a 125g build and decided to go with MTS capped with Saf T Sorb. I got the MTS donated from a local hobbyist and I bought the Saf T Sorb at Tractor Supply for $4.99 / bag. I got 3 bags of Saf T Sorb and should have plenty. $15 for substrate is not too bad at all. The MTS would've still been pretty cheap even if I didn't get it free.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-21-2012, 04:18 AM Thread Starter
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The sand is play sand. I have occassionaly stuck root tabs in there, I guess I was hoping for a more self sufficient soil.

Not sure about SafeTSorb.. the grains look really big/sharp, which isn't well suited for cories. And cories might just be my favourite fish in that tank right now! lol

I will have to consider the MTS, and definitely do more reading on it, since I don't know much about it.

Any other suggestions?
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-21-2012, 04:44 AM
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MTS is the best surefire substrate for us poor folk , I pay $3 for each 20lb bag of topsoil, and I buy dry fertilizers because they're cheap and you get around 1lb of each fertilizer. So it's definitely a money saver route for a planted tank.

I even bum around the local river down the street from me to find my rocks, and driftwood. Why pay ridiculous amounts for driftwood at a local fish store, when finding some at the local river is free....


As for MTS tank, here's a link for how to set it up -- https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=152027

However I would go with Azomite to enrich the topsoil, just a thought....

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-21-2012, 05:13 AM
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Go get a bunch of mirical grow organic choice potting soikd, swift out some of the larger wood in it. Put about 2.5"-3" down and cap it with the 2" of sand. The potting soild is pretty cheap, and it works great!

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-22-2012, 01:47 PM
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I'm currently running my tank with sand (1-2 mm) and Osmocote. I think it's good enough.

Check out my site about aquarium fertilizing:
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
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I think I am leaning towards MTS. On the weekend I'm gonna poke around some stores and get the stuff. I'm excited!!

Any suggestions on a substrate to cap it? I've always wanted a dark substrate but I have limited options here so I was only left with the light play sand. I need something soft as I have cories and kuhli loaches; don't want anything too jagged for their soft bellies and barbels.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-25-2012, 02:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbarbee54 View Post
Go get a bunch of mirical grow organic choice potting soikd, swift out some of the larger wood in it. Put about 2.5"-3" down and cap it with the 2" of sand. The potting soild is pretty cheap, and it works great!
+1 if your going low tech/low cost dirt is essential IMO
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-25-2012, 03:29 AM
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I see you are in Canada. I do not know where, or if you have any of these types of places near enough...

You could try to find some fine gravel that is dark enough. Are you near any cities that have landscapers? Concrete contractors? Swimming pool installers? They probably buy bulk supplies like mulch, gravel, and many other things in stores that specialize in such materials. Swimming pool people may use a product like Pebble Tek. This is a fine quartz, the size of sand, but uniform size, and available in many colors. It is added to the interior coating of swimming pools to make it different colors. Works well in an aquarium, too!
Around here these stores also sell bricks, bagged concrete and all sorts of soils, compost, decorative rock, drain rock and many similar materials. You might look in your local phone book to see if such places are near you. The stores near here will sell the bulk material by the bag as well as by the truckload.
If there are no stores like that near you, you are probably so far out in the country that you could go find a stream that might have some gravel that would work for you.
120 gallon tank will probably need enough gravel that you will want to bring several buckets and a friend to help carry!
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-26-2012, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips diana. I think we have some places like that, I'll go check them out!
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